Charlotte Birch bounces back to rock at Rockingham

Charlotte makes a strong start to race two (Photo by Marc Waller)

Charlotte makes a strong start to race two (Photo by Marc Waller)Last weekend saw the second meeting of the year for the Junior Saloon car championship (JSCC) and Charlotte Birch returned after a race against time to rebuild her car after the Silverstone weekend.

She had crashed out of that meeting through no fault of her own when a rival had lost control in front of her leaving her with nowhere to go. It seemed like luck was still not going her way when she arrived at Rockingham as her gearbox had started to fail.

Despite gearbox issues, Friday testing went very well. Saturday practice still seemed positive and it was on to qualifying. The session initially went well but as the session drew towards a close, Charlotte tried to make herself some clear track space and came through the pitlane but ended up spoiling what looked to be her best lap. Despite this she still took seventh on the grid for race one and an excellent fifth for race two.

The two races were on Sunday, one at around midday and the other later in the afternoon. As the lights went out for race one, she made a great start but as she rounded the banking, four rivals ahead were neck and neck right across the track leaving her no option but to back off to avoid running into them. This meant she had to back off slightly and several cars passed.

Undaunted she kept pushing and got into a battle with fellow female racer Jemma Moore. Despite setting a slightly faster best lap time, it was tough to find a way past Moore who was racing well and so Charlotte settled for eighth at the flag, her best result to date. Despite this, she felt she could do better and looked forward to race two.

This time she got a great start once again and closed on fourth place ahead. As they reached the Deene Hairpin she decided to slot into fifth rather than risk an accident and she continued the first lap in this position. She soon found herself joined by Frankie Taylor and the two ran closely for several laps. Taylor then slipped past, Charlotte had been taken by surprise as she explained afterwards “I thought we’d been drafting together to catch up with the leaders!”

She continued to lap strongly with some of her best laps of the weekend and crossed the line to take the chequered flag in an excellent sixth place, once again her best ever result. But unusually things were not over.

When the cars were checked in parc ferme afterwards, three of her rivals ahead of her were judged to have infringements. Two had their cars ride height too low and one had an airbox issue. The three cars were disqualified, promoting Charlotte to a brilliant third place and her first ever podium in racing.

Charlotte races with Frankie Taylor (Photo by Marc Waller) Charlotte was always towards the front of the field all weekend (Photo by Marc Waller) Charlotte with her newly rebuilt car (Photo by Marc Waller)




For a driver in only her second season of racing of any kind, this was a great result.

“It’s been a great come back after Silverstone. I’m really excited to have taken my first podium. Thanks to my dad for getting the car sorted after the crash and to all my sponsors, Blue Lizard Signs, Herock Workwear, Fixings & Power tools Centre Redhill and Toyotec. I’m really looking forward to getting back on track at Brands Hatch next month.”

Brands Hatch is also where she will pick up her trophy for third place. By Marc Waller

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